Mexico is a beautiful country with a rich culture. In fact, the culture is so rich that there are a lot of Mexican holidays during the year. What makes these holidays and the traditions surrounding them stand out are the people. They like to honor their traditions and throw big festivities.
Whether it’s a fiesta patronal (a day celebrating a saint), Dia del Maestro where Mexicans are celebrating teachers or another holiday, this country has plenty of holidays. In fact, there are so many occasions for celebrations that one could easily believe every day is a holiday in Mexico.
Naturally, for tourists, only a few holidays stand out and are of interest. They’re so loud and colorful that it would be a shame to miss out on them when traveling to Mexico. In order to make sure you don’t miss out on the main holidays, we’ve prepared a top 3 below.
Top 3 Mexican Holidays
#1 Dia de Muertos (October 21-Nov 2)
Perhaps the most famous Mexican holiday is the Day of the Dead. This pagan holiday celebrates the people who have passed on. Families build altars in honor of loved ones who have died. It is believed that on this day, the souls of the departed come back to share a little bit of time with their living family members. Dia de Muertos is an ancient tradition that dates back to pre-Colombian times.
Basically, the tradition is to adorn the altars, or ofrendas, with flowers, papel picado, photos and candles. However, most people also place foods the loved ones enjoyed, on the altar.
Some Mexicans take this one step further and adorn the tombs of their departed. After they finish adorning the tombs, they sit in the cemetery on the Day of the Dead and share a meal with their dead relatives.
Dia de Muertos is such a big holiday in Mexico that they throw parades, public ofrendas and art exhibitions in honor of the dead. The biggest festivities are in Mexico City.
#2 El Grito de Dolores (September 15)
Independence Day, or El Grito de Dolores is a huge national holiday that begins on the night of September 15th and continues the next day. Historically, Mexico won its independence on September 21st, not the 15th. However, they choose the 15th because that’s the day the resistance movement originally began.
El Grito de Dolores is a major event in Mexico. People are filled with pride, color, and joy. The celebrations begin at 11 PM on September 15th. Elected officials stand out on their office’s balcony and make a speech commemorating the national heroes. The speech finished with them saying “Viva Mexico!”. The speech is followed by fireworks, a traditional dinner and plenty of alcohol.
#3 Semana Santa (April)
Just like in any Christian country, Mexico celebrates Easter every year. It’s one of the most important national holidays that lasts for two weeks. While the specific date varies, it usually takes place in April. The Holy Week, or Easter (Seman Santa) is a very big holiday. The focus of this holiday are the last days of Christ during Holy Week. Most people get a week-long holiday from work. Students and teachers take two weeks off, while workers in important domains only get an extended weekend.
Still, a growing number of Mexicans don’t really focus on the religious aspect of this holiday. Being the first holiday after Christmas, most of them flock to the coast, soaking up the sun on Mexico’s beautiful beaches. Nevertheless, there are special dishes being prepared and family dinners or lunches are to be expected.
As you can tell by now, holidays are very serious in Mexico. While there are a lot of them during the year, for tourists, only a handful are of particular interest. We decided to focus on the most popular ones both for Mexicans, and tourists.
Holidays such as Dia de Muertos, Independence Day, and Semana Santa have grown in popularity in recent years thanks to social media. That’s why we decided to include them in our top 3 Mexican holidays you need to know about as a tourist. So, if you happen to be in Mexico during one of these holidays, be sure to participate. You’ll have a lot of fun!